hark(en) back to (something)

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hark(en) back to (something)

1. To cause one to think of or recall something. (The spelling "harken" is actually a variant of the archaic word "hearken," which originally meant "to listen" but is more commonly used in place of "hark" in this idiomatic phrase.) That song harkens back to an earlier time in my life.
2. To have originated or begun as something. You know, our modern cell phones hark back to those old rotary phones you like to make fun of.
3. To revisit or recall something mentioned earlier. Before we get too upset, let's all harken back to the real reason we're here today.
See also: back, to
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

hark(en) back to something

1. to have originated as something; to have started out as something. (Harken is an older word meaning "pay heed to.") The word icebox harks back to refrigerators that were cooled by ice. Our modern breakfast cereals hark back to the porridge and gruel of our ancestors.
2. to remind one of something. Seeing a horse and buggy in the park harks back to the time when horses drew milk wagons. Sally says it harkens back to the time when everything was delivered by horse-drawn wagons.
See also: back, hark, to
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

hark back

Return to a previous point, as in Let us hark back briefly to my first statement. This expression originally alluded to hounds retracing their course when they have lost their quarry's scent. It may be dying out. [First half of 1800s]
See also: back, hark
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in classic literature ?
It gave the explanation, gave sanity to the pranks of this atavistic brain of mine that, modern and normal, harked back to a past so remote as to be contemporaneous with the raw beginnings of mankind.
He always perturbedly harked back to her feminineness.
I could not see the analogy, but did not like to admit it, so I harked back to what he had denied.
It certainly harked back to the days of yesteryear when EastEnders was much more watchable than it is now.
and harked back to a time when we were a world force in football.
And her Heathrow headgear harked back to the one from her TV role.
Zappa would do something similar with his entire discography, releasing highly personal records that harked back to the doo-wop he loved in the '50s, say, and then offering up elaborate symphonic efforts, or jazz-infused sets that mostly had the effect of alienating whatever remained of his audience.
Corita Forrest, 17, of Llantwit Major, and Andrea Lewis, also 17, of Roath, harked back to the days of Queen Victoria, street urchins and ladies in their finery and, with shops, hotels, pubs and restaurants, celebrated the granting of the borough's Victorian charter.
Prof Elwood, making her inaugural lecture at Queen's University, Belfast, said this view harked back to discredited perceptions of women.
HENRY CECIL joked about reinventing himself as a handicap trainer and harked back to one of his rare betting forays after Sea Star landed the Racing Review Magazine Rated Stakes, writes Graham Cunningham.
Writing in the first half of the sixteenth century, one of the first modern writers on the subject Sebastiano Serlio harked back to Vitruvian notions of the origins of architecture 'Men's first coverings to protect themselves from the moisture of the rain and the blazing heat of the sun were made of tree branches supported on forked poles or rods and bound with willow branches ...
Apple's sultry voice and troubled phrasing gave her songs a precocious gravity, and so did her piano-centered melodies, which harked back to standards and blues.
Buoyed along by a lot of lofty rhetoric about the human condition, his program harked back to a position he had advanced in the 1982 Biennale when he served as curator for one of its two large international shows, "Art as Art." As a leitmotiv for the 1995 Biennale, a boring re-hash of a nonissue - abstraction versus figuration - seemed more regressive than relevant.
Yet Schumacher (left) was able to crack a joke that harked back to the year he crashed into the back of David Coulthard, ripping off a front wheel in Spa's infamous spray.
He harked back to his party's 1980s self-help philosophy which dumped thousands on the scrap-heap as he launched their Glasgow East poll campaign with candidate Davena Rankin, pictured.